Setting the Odds on Who Is Picking First in the 2013 NFL Draft
The Indianapolis Colts "won" the honor in 2012, but what team will be the not-so-proud owners of the No. 1 selection in the 2013 NFL draft?
The 2011 Colts are a perfect example of how much can go wrong in a season. A star quarterback can get hurt, ruining what would have likely been yet another playoff appearance.
Now, whether the worst team in 2012 will fall victim to injury or earn the title by sheer skill remains to be seen. At this point, we can, however, make a prediction at the likely worst team.
Here are your top contenders.
The Oakland Raiders are full of uncertainties. Will Carson Palmer rebound with his new team? Will the young wide receivers develop? How will the changing defense perform?
On offense, the Raiders have a legitimate star in Darren McFadden. When he's healthy, that is. The rest of the unit is full of questions. If Palmer performs at an above-average level, that will help.
Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey are talented but need to establish themselves as solid players. The team's tight end situation is disastrous.
The defense is looking to utilize some 3-4 looks, and the team lost both Kamerion Wimbley and Stanford Routt during the off season while not adding much in the way of replacements.
Oakland remains a talented team, but it is young and unproven.
No. 1 Pick Odds: 12 percent
Last year's worst team, the Indianapolis Colts, don't have much in the way of talent. Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck should perform decently, but he won't be performing any miracles from the start.
Reggie Wayne and Coby Fleener should be decent weapons, but Donald Brown is nothing special out of the backfield. The Colts' offensive line is also shaky at best.
The team's defense is switching to a 3-4 scheme, which should be interesting. Though Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney should be fine at outside linebacker, the team's inside linebackers and defensive line will be rough. A third-round pick is probably Indianapolis' best nose tackle option.
The Colts didn't improve their atrocious secondary either. That will probably be the NFL's worst defensive backfield.
This may come down to just how pro-ready Andrew Luck really is. This definitely isn't a playoff team, but it probably isn't the NFL's worst roster either.
No. 1 Pick Odds: 7 percent
Adrian Peterson is the Vikings' only real weapon, and he is recovering from a torn ACL, so he may not play or be ineffective for much of the season. Christian Ponder isn't without talent, but he is entering just his second season, and he's not exactly full of promise.
Minnesota's offensive line should be improved after the acquisition of Matt Kalil, but it won't be great. On defense, the Vikings aren't quite as bad. Jared Allen certainly helps.
Allen and Kevin Williams help form a decent defensive line, and the team's linebackers aren't awful. They aren't good either, though.
Its secondary is nothing to rave about, though Antoine Winfield is the team's best cornerback, and he is well past his prime.
Unfortunately for Minnesota, the NFC North is a tough division. The Vikings won't have many easy wins in 2012.
No. 1 Pick Odds: 15 percent
Thank Blaine Gabbert for Jacksonville's inclusion here. Normally, it's hard to take too much from a quarterback's rookie season, but Gabbert was simply awful.
Maurice Jones-Drew will certainly pick up some yards, and Gabbert will be throwing to an improved wide receiver corps, but if he doesn't improve, it won't matter. Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson won't make that much of a difference.
The Jacksonville pass rush is still weak, as Andre Branch isn't going to dominate as a rookie. There isn't anything special at linebacker.
In the secondary, Jacksonville has one or two solid starters, and a few good backups. There isn't much beyond that.
Outside of Gabbert, the Jaguars don't have a horrendous roster, but Gabbert really hurts the team's 2012 outlook.
No. 1 Pick Odds: 20 percent
St. Louis Rams
Though he played horribly in 2011, Sam Bradford is still a promising quarterback. After acquiring Scott Wells and further development, the Rams' offensive line should be improved in 2012 as well.
St. Louis added only Brian Quick at wide receiver, but the team has a number of young wideouts with promise. A year of progression could be huge there. Isaiah Pead should help at running back.
Chris Long is a legitimate star at defensive end, and 2011 first-round pick Robert Quinn has promise. Michael Brockers has potential at defensive tackle, and James Laurinatis is a solid middle linebacker.
St. Louis' secondary isn't so great, but the team did draft two talented players in Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson early.
On the whole, St. Louis improved from 2011, when it wasn't quite bad enough to win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. It likely won't be in 2012, either.
No. 1 Pick Odds: 8 percent
Across the roster, Cleveland isn't quite as bad as most these other teams, but it does have some significant question marks. Chiefly, how will the passing game perform?
28-year-old rookie Brandon Weeden will start at quarterback, and he doesn't have many wideouts to work with. Second-year pro Greg Little is the only legitimate starter.
Trent Richardson will relieve the pressure by gaining yards on the ground, and the Cleveland offensive line should be above average. Jason Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao struggled in 2011, but they are young and developing.
The Browns' defensive ends probably won't offer much of a pass rush, though Jabaal Sheard is a good player. Ahtyba Rubin is a legitimate star at defensive tackle, but the team will need Phil Taylor to return.
With D'Qwell Jackson and Chris Gocong, Cleveland isn't awful at linebacker, but it isn't great either. Joe Haden is a shutdown cornerback, but T.J. Ward is the team's only other solid defensive back.
Though Cleveland isn't really special in any one area, it is decent enough across the board to win enough games not to pick No. 1.
No. 1 Pick Odds: 4 percent